The wind blew and the flaps on the green funeral tent fluttered. All of us had dust on our shoes from our walk across a patch of freshly shredded field grass. The dust swirled despite the heavy rain from two days previous because of the gusty spring winds. We could see the green shoots of growing wheat growing across the rolling hills nearby. Standing under the tent, I took a deep breath loudly through my nose, patted my chest and said, "Aaaaah! Smells like Coleman County!" Folks nodded and smiled. A few of the family chuckled despite the tears in their eyes.

Brown Ranch Cemetery was less than a half-mile from where Curtis had been born. We gathered to give honor to him for a life that was lived well and widely traveled, but ended up a short distance from where it began.

Curtis represented everything to be cherished in a man from this part of the country — strong, funny, mischievous, faithful, tough, kind, hard working, and loyal. His legacy is rich in faith, friends, and family — children, grafted in children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He had served his country in WWII and many others in his community, church, and family since then. Curtis is beloved in our church and deservedly so, for he was very active in all levels of our church life.

One of my favorite things about this friend is a story of sweet grace. When Reba, Curtis' first wife died, he faithfully served her to the end. A sweet sister in Christ had been with Reba when she passed from this life to the next. This lady's name is Janice. She had worked hard all of her life — sometimes taking two jobs — but considered sitting all night with those gravely ill as her special ministry.

Many years earlier, Janice had been deeply hurt when her husband left her to raise two girls by herself. She did a great job of it, too. In the process, however, she had also sworn off of men, completely. She wasn't even sure if Jesus were to ask her to marry that she would marry again — and she loves the Lord with all her heart. But as God would have it, over time, Curtis won this Janice's heart. They married and enjoyed the sweet gifts of faith, family, friends, and travel in the autumn years of life. They were precious together, all the way to the end of Curtis' earthly life.

A few days after the funeral, this dear sweet lady brought me an envelope with a note and a generous check inside. She knew I wouldn't accept the check for myself, so she asked for me to use it for "your girl in Africa or one of the other Compassion children." She had seen the report of my Uganda trip to meet a little girl Donna and I sponsor in Uganda.

Such sweet and precious people ... and even in sorrow, they want to share and give another child a chance at life just like they sacrificed to give life to their children ... and grandchildren ... and great-grandchildren. Such love knows no boundaries, not even death.

Some gifts just mean more. This is one of those gifts!

So in honor of Curtis and Janice, I'm sending this check to the Malaria Intervention Fund: see the info below or on their website

April 25 is World Malaria Day and our part in that will be to provide bed nets to keep sleeping children safe from Malaria mosquito bites.

You can help, too!
You can help us "Bite Back" against this mosquito-borne killer, too. So I'm asking you to join us and provide mosquito nets for children. Malaria is still the biggest killer of children in tropical climates. Something so simple can make a huge difference in the life of a family, a future, and a child. Ten dollars provides a treated net that protects a child for three years — 1 penny a day can make that big a difference!


For more information, you can see my blog:

Or you can donate directly: